Step 1: The parts for the VDG

The only parts in this that you are not likely to find at your local hardware store are the wheels.   I used bed frame wheels. their choice sorta dictated the size of Van De Graaff (Henceforth called VDG for short.)  More about the wheels later.

These are the parts used.
1 Lightbulb socket (I pried out the bottom most contact, to give less surface area to bleed off static charges.
1 Large globe lightbulb
1 1.50"" to 2" pvc adapter (lightbulb socket fits in here nicely, and gives space to mount the brushes)
1 2" to 3" pvc adapter
1 3" to 3" PVC Coupler
1 5" threaded rod and assorted washers and nuts,  I think it was 5/32"
1 6" threaded bolt, and washers, small enough for the wheel to glide on)
2 slightly curved plastic bedframe rollers. (was going to use skateboard wheels sanded down on my drillpress, but my dad had these in his shop)
1 3"x3"x1.50" PVC Tee
1 length of pvc (Ihad to use ABS which is not as good due to its carbon content, but it was all I could find in precut lengths, and didnt want to buy 9 more feet of pipe.
1 1.50" to 0.25" pvc adapter
2 sets of skateboard wheel bearings,
Some copper wire both to make a ground wire, and a spark wand wire, but also to make the brushes.
1 outlet plug (this is only connected to the ground pin
1 can of cold galvanizing spraypaint
1 can of copper metallic spraypaint
1 drill socket adapter. (to turn the bottom wheel)
1 drill, (optional speed controller)
1 sheet of latex exercise banding
1 tube of bike tire patch glue.
Teflon pipe tape,
copper foil tape
Other misc Stuff, A board to screw it down to and some long screws. and A binding post for the charge wand, some wire, a old junk drawer nob pull for the wand, some plastic tubing for the shaft of the wand.

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Bio: Im a bit of a geek of all trades. Of late most of my free energy has going into Making sure our hacker/makerspace is ... More »
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